Q&A: Jeff Teague on Hawks' approach

Jeff Teague earned an All-Star bid after helping the Hawks to a franchise-record 60 wins last season. Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

It's Jeff Teague's series now.

But being the Atlanta Hawks' version of LeBron James -- i.e., carrying the offensive load and responsibility for his team -- is not how Teague is going to lead his team past the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals. And he knows this.

His mental approach and visualization of how the Hawks function and succeed is by shared existence. While Teague might be the team's leader (affectionately called "The Orchestrator"), there are no followers, because everyone on the Hawks is on the front line together.

Scoop: Good news about DeMarre Carroll.

Teague: Yeah. As a friend and teammate, I'm glad he's going to be all right. You never want to see someone get injured.

Scoop: I read -- before the news came out that his injury was a sprain and not anything worse -- that this has now become "a Teague series" for the Hawks because you are the one player the Cavs don't have an answer for. Is it hard for you to think about it like that? Can you even allow yourself to think about it like that?

Teague: No, not at all. It's not about me. It's about me making sure everybody is playing well and moving the ball because that's the only way we can win this series.

Scoop: I've heard the Hawks and the style of ball you all play called "egalitarian," "thoughtful," "measured," "grown-up" and "aesthetically pleasing." Is there such a thing as "Atlanta Hawks basketball?"

Teague: Yeah, there is. It's really unselfish basketball on the defensive and offensive end. It's that simple, right there.

Scoop: Is it up to you while on the court to shape that definition?

Teague: Yeah, it starts with me, but man, it's our whole team. It's the guys that we brought around. They're all great, high-character guys. All unselfish guys. That's our group.

Scoop: Tell me what you all as players see and learn about the game watching film that we don't see and learn in the media or as fans.

"I look at only the wins and losses. At this point stats don't really matter. Man, I could shoot 2-for-25, as long as I make the last two and we win the game, it'll be OK. That's how I am, I just wanna win." Jeff Teague

Teague: Like (Thursday), honestly, all we watched was defensive rebounding and how we can get better. And how we need to spread the floor better and getting our open shots. For the most part, I think you all (media) pretty much hit it on the head -- we got outrebounded [in Game 1]. I think the guards, myself included, have got to do a better job of getting back and helping the bigs get some rebounds.

Scoop: What about the driving to the lane? We (media) sort of made a big deal about how in the first half you drove to the lane six times and got 12 points (5-for-5 in the lane), but only drove three times in the second half and only got two points (1-for-1 in the lane).

Teague: Yeah, I have to drive [it] a little more. First, I just gotta get the guys going. When I get into the paint and get some guys some easy shots, I think it'll be a lot better for us.

Scoop: OK, your Game 1 stat line read: 27 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals. Are you the type of player who looks at that and sees a good game, or do you look at the other end and see the sub-50 percent shooting (11-of-24), 1-of-6 from 3 and three turnovers?

Teague: I look at only the wins and losses. At this point, stats don't really matter. Man, I could shoot 2-for-25; as long as I make the last two and we win the game, it'll be OK. That's how I am. I just wanna win. I don't think guys play for numbers or anything, we just play to try and win and move on.

Scoop: You could just do a Paul Pierce and start hitting shots at the end and you're all good.

Teague: [Laughs] You know! Man, that was crazy.

Scoop: So you are the one who always stays positive because you know the ability that you and this team have?

Teague: Yeah, never get down or get discouraged. Always keep the faith and always have belief in yourself.

Scoop: So after the Game 1 loss are you encouraged or discouraged?

Teague: Oh, I'm encouraged, man! It's a good opportunity for us. We know what we did wrong and we know what we gotta do to help ourselves. Now if we can get J.R. Smith to miss a couple of shots ...